City Recital Hall is thrilled to unveil its 2017 performance season: the first annual curated program to be launched by the prestigious music venue.
The launch of the program is part of a bold new vision for City Recital Hall, to transform the oft-termed “hidden gem” into one of the must-visit cultural destinations in Australia. Aimed squarely at attracting a new generation of audiences, the doors are being thrown open and foyer spaces reimagined for art as well as performance, matched with a wholly new mainstage contemporary music program.
At this evening’s official program launch, Elaine Chia, CEO of City Recital Hall said: ‘City Recital Hall was purpose built for live music. We see a real opportunity for us to play a much more active role in the music and broader arts scene than ever before, as a vibrant central hub for everyone to come to enjoy music across all genres.’
In 2017, the Angel Place venue is hosting over 200 concerts and events, from classical favourites to boundary-pushing contemporary works. A wider variety of artists than ever before will perform on the City Recital Hall stage. The dynamic line-up comprises Australia’s finest musicians, acclaimed international artists and emerging talent in an expanded season of daytime, lunchtime, evening and late night offerings.
The company’s own artistic program of over 60 concerts and events brings a fresh and revitalised approach to the management of this stunning space, which is regarded by both artists and audiences as one of the finest venues for acoustics in Australia today. City Recital Hall introduces several new events, including 2×20, a supper-time series for night owls, an expanded Lunchtime Music Series, a lunchtime talks program exploring the intersection of science and music and a children’s program. One of the most exciting events is Sydney Flash Mob Choir where Sydneysiders will be invited to the venue throughout the year to join acclaimed conductor Richard Gill AO and like-minded strangers to belt out a song or two before continuing on with their daily routines.
2017 at City Recital Hall includes a number of milestone concerts, including the 10th anniversary of the Black Arm Band, the 20th anniversary of Gondwana Voices and the 20th anniversary of Taikoz, as well as a big birthday bash for composer Elena Kats-Chernin. The company is also thrilled to be working with a number of Australian artists to present the world premieres of several new works including Seven Stories, DIVA and performances in a weekend festival of original music aptly titled Unashamedly Original.
In addition to its own presentations, City Recital Hall continues to nurture its long-standing relationships with Australia’s most respected music organisations. Key Presenters Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian String Quartet, Musica Viva, Pinchgut Opera, Sydney Festival and Sydney Symphony Orchestra are all presenting much of their 2017 Sydney seasons at the venue. City Recital Hall is also thrilled to be welcoming back Sydney Writers’ Festival, Selby & Friends and Omega Ensemble, among many others.
Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore congratulated City Recital Hall on its achievements in the first year of operation as a new not-for-profit company: ‘This approach is part of the City of Sydney’s commitment to supporting opportunities for live music and performance, as well as to encourage increased audiences at Sydney’s cultural venues. This extraordinary space is part of our city’s cultural infrastructure and we want it to be enjoyed by diverse audiences and performers.’
For Elaine Chia, 2017 can’t come soon enough. ‘There’s a unique thrill of witnessing a great performance here and jumping to your feet with 1000 others for a standing ovation. I have no doubt there will be some magical moments in 2017 and we are all very much looking forward to making them happen.’
CITY RECITAL HALL 2017 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
City Recital Hall kicks off the year with the welcome return of Paris Combo. Hot on the heels of their new album, the Paris-based quintet serves up their unique blend of gypsy jazz, French chanson and Latin rhythm, with a touch of Middle Eastern groove.
For a decade, Black Arm Band has been sharing the music, songs and stories at the centre of Indigenous life, touching hearts and minds across the country and abroad. A line-up of contemporary Aboriginal music pioneers and emerging greats celebrates their 10th anniversary with Songs of the Black Arm Band, a new production bringing together songs from their most successful and iconic shows, Murundak and dirtsong.
April draws to a close with an annual highlight of the City Recital Hall calendar, the gala concert of The Greek Festival of Sydney. This year’s event celebrates the music of iconic Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, best known for his theme to Zorba the Greek.
Autumn brings two Australian duos on the back of new album releases. The Grigoryan Brothers are known for their explosive performances overflowing with power, vitality and precision that push the boundaries of guitar virtuosity. They are back by popular demand to perform works from their latest album. Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp perform works from their latest co-creation, Songs of Latin Skies, a journey through Latin classics with bossa nova, samba, salsa and tango all set to smile-inducing and toe-tapping South American beats.
In June, City Recital Hall’s foyer is transformed by Sound Bubble, a spectacular installation of light and sound. This mad-professor-style invention of Damian Barbeler and John Taylor is part intelligent life form, part multimedia installation and part experimental performance space. Contained within this high tech, clear inflatable cube is a wonderful array of interactive technology sparking, weird, wonderful and inspiring events, and providing a visually spectacular backdrop made for social media snapping.
Another major highlight of the year ahead is the world premiere of Seven Stories. This unique collaboration is a multisensory work that combines music, storytelling and film and celebrates some of Australia’s leading female artists. It is said that when we boil down the world’s vast cauldron of myths, legends and literature, seven archetypal stories emerge; they are the bones of our human experience. Seven Stories brings together seven female Australian composers Amanda Brown, Kyls Burtland, Jodi Phillis, Jane Sheldon, Bree Van Reyk, Sally Whitewell and Caitlin Yeo; musicians Ensemble Offspring; playwright and collaborative theatremaker Hilary Bell and video artist Sarah-Jane Woulahan. Weaving together the seven archetypal stories, merging genres and art-forms they see the world from a female perspective, creating a powerful new Australian work that places women centre stage.
For a weekend in July, lovers of original music can immerse themselves in a festival of new, contemporary works at Unashamedly Original. City Recital Hall’s collaborators have let their imaginations run wild to create multidisciplinary experiences that push the envelope of sight and sound. Highlights include Speak Percussion’s Fluorophone, where fluorescent lights and the naked flame combine with percussion to create a kaleidoscopic world. One of Australia’s best known visual artists, Archibald Prize winner Wendy Sharpe, joins forces with Australian Art Quartet to recreate William Hogarth’s masterpiece, in The Enraged Musicians. These artists will be joined by many more, with the full festival program to be released in April 2017.
Divas are in the spotlight in August when Amelia Farrugia leads a humorous celebration of Australia’s leading ladies June Bronhill and Dame Joan Sutherland in DIVA. This world premiere event is part- theatre, part-opera as Farrugia pays tribute to these two giants of opera and musical theatre.
In October, acclaimed Australian pianist Anna Goldsworthy performs Piano Lessons. Part play, part concert, it tells the story of Goldsworthy’s metamorphosis from gawky nine-year-old schoolgirl to concert pianist under the passionate tutelage of Russian émigré Eleanora Sivan. This adaptation of her award- winning memoir brings Goldsworthy to the stage to play herself, performing sublime piano pieces by Mozart, Liszt and Chopin, and providing a rare insight into the life of a professional musician.
The highlights of the year ahead are not only about major music events. In 2017 City Recital Hall extends its offering of lunchtime events to four different series and, for the first time, opens up the foyer for a series of late night concerts.
City Recital Hall’s popular A Little Lunch Music series is the perfect bite-size tasting plate of chamber music. Curated by Artistic Director Kathryn Selby AM, the program includes some of Australia’s best musicians ranging from emerging artists to household names such as Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Audiences also have the opportunity to get to know the performers and instruments of Omega Ensemble and to see some of the best young talent in Sydney in two new series, A Taste of Omega and Sydney Youth Orchestras’ The Engine Room of Excellence. For those seeking something a little more technical, This Sounds Like Science is the perfect prescription. Leading Australian researchers present the science behind the music we love and each talk is paired with demonstrations and performances by local musicians to leave you wondering where the science ends and the magic begins. There is a music inspired lunchtime break to suit everyone, all in the heart of the CBD.
In 2×20 the venue throws open its doors to music lovers and curious passers-by with a series of monthly, late night, up close and personal live music experiences. Each evening brings together renowned artists with fresh, emerging performers in two 20 minute live sets. In the good hands of dynamic host Andrew Bukenya and collaborator Bev Kennedy, audiences will be whisked across musical worlds; from cabaret and music theatre to folk, soul, jazz and beyond. This series of barside concerts in the centre of the city is the perfect musical oasis for night owls.
2017 is not just about adults. For the first time, City Recital Hall is presenting a program especially for little music lovers. A serious classical concert is underway but first the conductor must deal with a mischievous red nosed visitor. Meet The Conductor and the Clown: a mini symphony show created especially for kids combining physical comedy with works by Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. Later in the year, the ever-popular Murray Cook, known to kids as the red Wiggle, narrates Prokofiev’s famous musical tale. Conducted by George Ellis, Peter and the Wolf tells the story of a curious and courageous boy, his fearful grandfather, his animal friends and a big bad wolf.
In another milestone event, world-renowned children’s choir Gondwana Voices unveils its 20th anniversary concert, Southern Lights, Northern Lights. Led by its founder Lyn Williams OAM and Principal Guest Conductor Mark O’Leary, the choir performs music close to its heart: new Australian works that capture the mystery and grandeur of our land. Gondwana Choirs returns in December for their annual Christmas celebration Voices of Angels.
Another anniversary is marked when internationally acclaimed drumming ensemble Taikoz celebrates its 20th year of incredible music making and performance. Designed to thrill and captivate, 20 takes you on a performance journey that ripples and vibrates through your whole body. From the bold and dramatic, to the sensuous and sublime, 20 embraces music of the past, while heralding bold, new works of the future.
November sees City Recital Hall stringing up the party lights for one of Australia’s best-loved composers in Elena Kats-Chernin’s Birthday Bash. A spectacular line-up of celebrities, musicians and singers is descending on Angel Place for this epic birthday celebration with a concert showcasing the wide and exhilarating appeal of Kats-Chernin’s works.
Finally, next year you will notice something curious and wonderful happening at City Recital Hall. The venue will be bursting with music with hundreds of voices joined in song. Sydneysiders will be invited to take over the Hall to make music in a performance like no other; a spontaneous choir where everyone is invited and the whole auditorium is a stage. Sydney Flash Mob Choir is for anyone who wants to, loves to or needs to sing. It’s free, it’s fun and one of Australia’s most admired conductors, Richard Gill AO, is choir master. Sign up online in January to get an SMS with a date and time and let the melodies soar.
These highlights are just a sample of the full feast of offerings in the City Recital Hall 2017 season. For the complete program of concerts, art events and talks, please visit www.cityrecitalhall.com.